By Sonya Magett, EnStarz | Jul 05, 2012 12:40 PM EDT
Actress Nia Long is on the cover of the upcoming issue of Essence magazine and has responded to critics about life as a single mother.
The 41-year-old actress who has starred as actor Will Smith's girlfriend in his hit television show, "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," has two sons and explained that she is in no rush to walk down the aisle with her partner, basketball player Ime Udoka.
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"Marriage is not a priority for me," said the "Soul Food" star in the August edition of the magazine. "I'm not saying I'll never do it, it's just not where we are as a family," said Long in an excerpt of the interview on essence.com.
Long welcomed her first child with Udoka eight months ago, and also has 10-year-old son Massai. The actress divulged she has "never seen a marriage work" and that having reached an "emotional maturity" is more important to her when it comes to relationships, including hers with her son's father.
"I'll be at home with my man, having a perfectly loving time, and I'll see all these comments on some site about how wrong I am for not being married," she also shared. "I don't feel less loved or less loving because I'm not married. I'm a lot calmer. Less clingy and demanding. When Ime has to be gone for long stretches at a time, as he had to the first few months after Kez was born, I took it as an opportunity to nest. It had been a minute since I had an infant and I had to get back into the rhythm of being a new mom. I really enjoyed having the space to do that at my own pace."
According to DailyMail she also stated the following about her previous relationship: "Massai's dad and I have had the most challenging times, and I wasn't always sure we wouldn't end like my mother and father. But we've arrived at a place where I can truly say he's not a baby daddy, he's my friend, finally. He is an amazing father."
"Motherhood is not easy, but it's natural," she continued according to the report. "I worked hard to have the career I wanted, but I've also been deliberate about my personal life. None of this is a mistake."
Long has appeared in movies "Boyz in the Hood," "Love Jones," and "Big Momma's House," among many others.
Ime Ludoka has played for several NBA teams including the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.
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